The amount of money lost by scam victims last year went up by more than half last year, with a huge jump in the number of people targeted.
A report by FraudSMART found that there was an 80% jump in the number of fraudulent scams in 2020, with the average victim losing €5,300.
In total there was €15.6 million lost to fraudulent scams last year, 51% higher than in 2019. This came from a range of impersonation scams, romance scams and investment scams targeting vulnerable people.
Impersonation scams in particular have been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 68% of people reporting being targeted by one in the year up to July 2021. Among 18-24 year olds, this rises to 84% being the target of at least one impersonation scam.
These scams occur when the fraudster pretends to be from a legitimate organisation or business to get sensitive information or money from the victim.
When asked who the fraudster was pretending to be, more than half (56%) said a government department or agency, including the Revenue Commissioners or Gardaí.
Just over a third said that scammer pretended to be from the bank, and one in five people were hit with a scam delivery company message.
Phone calls have been the most common source of this fraud (72%), with 37% of people saying they were contact by email, and 32% receiving scam text messages.
Brian Hayes, Chief Executive of Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) said” “Fraudsters continuously update and adapt their tactics and…